NOVEMBER 10, 2010: Southern Sudanese Army Attacks Moyo, Abduct Fourteen

Southern Sudanese Army Attacks Moyo, Abduct Fourteen

SOURCE: The New Vision

By Barbara Among

ARMED Southern Sudan Army (SPLA) soldiers yesterday attacked a village in the West Nile district of Moyo and abducted 11 civilians.

The raid on Dengolo village in Lefori sub-county, which is located at the Sudan-Uganda border, was the third within a week and brought the number of Ugandans abducted to 14.

Lefori sub-county is 12 miles from Moyo town.

In the first attack on October 31, the SPLA abducted two people and in the second one on November 7, they took another person.

Southern Sudan, however, denied any abductions. An official at the Southern Sudan consulate based in Gulu said out of the 11 arrested people, only two were Ugandans. The others, said the official only identified as Mang, were Sudanese.

The Southern Sudanese authorities arrested them for illegal cutting of timber in Lefori, the official added. Southern Sudan says Lefori sub-county is within its borders.

The incident was the latest in a series of attacks that Southern Sudanese soldiers have carried out against Uganda over the border dispute.

Asked for a comment, the Ugandan army said three armed men from the Bamure police post in Southern Sudan abducted three Ugandan women and seven men early yesterday.

It is said the raiders crossed into the village at about 8:00am and accused the villagers of encroaching on "Sudanese territory".

The Ugandan security blamed "lawlessness on the other side of the border", but added that efforts to rescue the Ugandans were underway.

"We have already sent a Police force to ensure that they are brought back," said intelligence officer Maj. Victor Opera.

West Moyo MP Moses Apiliga last evening said the raid had "angered the villagers who are now threatening to retaliate".

He said the villagers' efforts to rescue the abductees had failed because the rescuers had also been detained by the Sudanese security.

The MP appealed to the ministries of foreign and internal affairs to find a lasting solution to the long-standing border dispute.

The wrangle has raged on since 2008. The Sudanese are claiming about 20km of land inside Uganda, which includes parts of Lefori, Madi-Opei, Agoro, Potika, Lokung and Palabek sub-counties. The Sudanese accuse the Madi of Moyo and Yumbe districts of extending their administrative structures inside their land.

The commissioner of Kajo-Keji county in Southern Sudan, Muki Batali Buli, said Kuku has over 15km stretch of land in Uganda. Going by this argument, it means that Moyo Town Council, parts of Metu and Lefori and Midigo in Yumbe districts belong to Sudan.

Uganda has strongly protested against the claim. Last year, Sudanese civilians attacked Ugandan farmers in Lefori, killing many and destroyed their crops.

This prompted a meeting between President Yoweri Museveni and counterpart Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan. The meeting agreed to verify and demarcate the border.

However, the Southern Sudan government and Khartoum failed to agree who should carry out the verification and the exercise was, therefore, halted until the February 2011 referendum in Sudan is held.

The Uganda-Sudan border area was first marked on April 29, 1914. A dispute between the communities there arose in 1920. Attempts in 1928 and 1936 to verify the border by the colonial administration failed.

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